Masking in Photoshop: Difference between Layer Masks and Clipping Masks

Masking in Photoshop: Difference between Layer Masks and Clipping Masks

What is Masking in Photoshop?

Masking is one of the most powerful in adobe photoshop. Masks can be used to create very useful visual effects. From combining images to stylizing texts, there are numbers of uses of masks in Photoshop. Here we will learn about the two types of masks which is used in Adobe Photoshop: layer masks and clipping masks through examples. Both should be useful in a different way and if you want to master Adobe Photoshop, then you will need to understand these crucial differences.

Difference Between Layer Masks and Clipping Masks

Adobe Photoshop: Layer Masks

Layer masks are one of Adobe Photoshop’s most useful features. The path to Photoshop software mastery begins with grasping the power of layer masks.

Basically, a layer mask controls a layer’s transparency.

Layer masks use a single mask that is applied to a single image and that allows to hide portions of a layer while exposing other layers positioned underneath. This is performed by adjusting the layer’s transparency and opacity through a mask.

It can only have monochromatic colors in grayscale between white, black and the various shades of grey in between.

Click on below Video: Difference Between Layer Masks & Clipping Masks in Photoshop

How to Create a Layer Mask

Open Photoshop software and start by selecting the image you wish to manipulate. There is a number of tools to select the object you want to mask. In this example, here we make use of the magic wand tool to select the pumpkin object, but you can also make use of the marquee tool, quick selection tool or a shape tool.


Once the selection process is active, click on the mask button to create a new mask layer. The selected pixels set to visible while the unselected are hidden. If you look at the layer palette, you will mark that the mask is being applied to the layer itself.

mask layer

Now that you have the layer mask, you can choose to add it to a totally different background.

Adobe Photoshop: Clipping Masks

Clipping masks allow you to hide portions of an image, but these masks are created using multiple layers, whereas layer masks only make use of a single layer. A clipping mask is a shape that masks other artwork and only reveals what lies in shape. Not only clipping masks be created from shapes, but they can also be applied to vector and text objects.

This mask work in the same way as layer masks, except that they don’t have the monochromatic grayscale color range. Instead, they acquire the transparency of the layer beneath them.

Click on below Video: How to use Layer Masks in Photoshop

How to Create a Clipping Mask

To create a clipping mask using text, start by typing out the text you want to mask in Adobe Photoshop.

Next, add the image you wish to mask above the text layer. Right click on the image layer and select create a clipping mask.

Now you should see your image displaying through the letters you created. If you look at layers palette, you will see the mask was created by connecting two layers.

There are many uses of this wonderful masking feature. You can learn more about layer masks and clipping masks in Animation courses.

Stylizing text and blending images are just a few examples of how you can enhance your designs with Adobe Photoshop masks.

For students who are interested to learn more on Step to Learn the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop and would like to learn this on a more professional level, please sign up today for our Arena Sayajigunj Course.

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